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Security Concerns As Zimbabwe President Uninjured in Blast at Rally


Zanu PF rally in Matabeleland region.

An explosion at a campaign rally for Zimbabwe's president that injured 49 people will not delay next month's election, officials said Sunday.

Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa escaped injury in the explosion at a campaign rally in Bulawayo, an opposition stronghold.

State media called the attack an assassination attempt. The president said there have been “so many” attempts on his life that he is used to them.

Vice President Constantino Chiwenga called the attack "terrorism" and said any frightened candidate would be provided with protection.

FILE - Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa announces the date for the general elections in Harare, Zimbabwe, May 30, 2018.
FILE - Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa announces the date for the general elections in Harare, Zimbabwe, May 30, 2018.

Zimbabwe's presidential candidates are not normally provided with security by the government. The protection at Chiwenga's rally appeared no heavier than normal, with no security checks for those attending.

The president "will not be driven by vengefulness or a spirit of retribution,'' his spokesman, George Charamba, told the state-run Sunday Mail newspaper. "Until the investigators pronounce themselves and present the evidence for arrest and prosecution, no one should ascribe motive or blame.''

There has been no immediate claim of responsibility.

The run-up to the July 30 presidential vote had been peaceful.

Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa condemned the attack and said on Twitter, “Violence must have no place in our politics.”

The election is Zimbabwe's first without longtime leader Robert Mugabe.

Mnangagwa is under pressure to deliver a credible election that Western countries see as key to lifting international sanctions.

He has invited election observers from the United States, the European Union and elsewhere for the first time in 16 years. Mugabe rejected Western observers, accusing them of bias.

The 75-year-old Mnangagwa and 40-year-old Chamisa, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change are the main contenders.



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